Muslim leaders demand honourable release of Mumtaz Qadri

The Milli Yakjehti council (MYC), a conglomeration of 20 religious parties, has demanded the honourable release of Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer for blasphemy.

It said that the government was planning Qadri’s unlawful execution.

The council warned such action would trigger events like those of 1977, and decided that it would call on the president and prime minister for Qadri’s release.

It also called upon the government to stop the arrests of the Ulemas, lift the ban on the use of loud speaker and release the detained Ulemas.

Nasir Saeed, director CLAAS-UK, raised concerns over the developing situation concerning the amendment of the blasphemy law and the growing support for those taking the law into their own hands to punish alleged blasphemers.

He said “This is very unfortunate and worrying situation as the person who has been found guilty throughout – from the lower to the supreme courts of the country – for killing the former governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, for protecting a poor Christian woman Aasia Bibi, is being hailed a hero by Muslim groups, many individuals and even lawyers and ex-judges. They are trying to protect him. They consider him innocent and are demanding his unconditional release.

As all of Qadri’s appeals have been exhausted and his final appeal is pending in front of the president for clemency, Muslim groups are trying to build pressure on the government and the president by using different tactics, like protests, rallies and fierce statements.

“Although the President of Pakistan has rejected several clemencies recently, this is going to be the most difficult case for him and the government too. As on the one hand there are angry Muslim groups who are threatening the government with dire consequences, and on the other hand, the whole world is waiting to see justice being done.

“It is such a dilemma, and these are defining moments for the government of Pakistan – coming out clean is crucial. Whatever decision is made by the president will have an impact on Pakistani society, especially the vigilantes and the victims of the blasphemy law.

“Let’s pray for the president and the government of Pakistan, that the Lord gives them courage and wisdom, and justice prevails.”